Achieving the transformation towards a truly equitable and sustainable European society will require a major flow of investments, both public and private, at both EU level (mainly through the EU budget or the EIB group) and national, regional, and local levels.
More than 10 years of restrictive conservative fiscal policies have led to a large investment gap in Europe. Investments in infrastructure in 2016 were, in Europe, 20% below the - already insufficient -level experienced in 2007. Reversing this dangerous trend is our most urgent political priority. At the same time, we need to go one-step further and precisely identify the nature of investments urgently needed in order to start the change of paradigm we are calling for.
In this respect, we want to focus on a number of key policy goals: "a society for the many, not for the few", "a digital revolution for the people", "transforming production and consumption (including health, food and safety)" and "a decarbonised society and cleaner air". Moreover, our work will need to address the question of which type of investments are needed (public/private investments, or a combination) and at which level (EU, national, local). This whole project will have to be carried out with both short and long-term perspectives (10 - 30 years), bearing in mind that the instruments available at EU level are very often short or medium term ones.
In this context, we aim to tackle three main issues:
1) Reverse the declining investment trend in the EU
- plead in favour of revamping the co-ordination of fiscal policies at EU level (the so-called European Semester process and the wider debate on European economic governance)
- promote the role of the EU budget as a key investment tool for the sustainable well-being of everyone in Europe
- work on a better interaction, complementarity and consistency between the European Semester process and the EU budget
2) Ensure fair tax policies to provide sufficient public resources and boost investments geared towards the achievement of a sustainable transformation of the European economy and society. Even if tax competences at EU level are rather limited, we have three main EU policy advantages at our disposal:
- EU actions for fair taxation and fiscal justice for all
- the current European Commission's initiative on so-called "sustainable finance"
- new own resources for the EU budget to ensure an ambitious and future-proof EU budget
3) Better define the areas where investment is critically needed as well as the type and nature of the investments required. We envisage to:
- work on the elaboration of a positive list (e.g: social infrastructure) and a negative list of investments (e.g : fossil fuels, non-climate friendly production)
- better define at which level investments should be promoted (European, national, local and/or an intelligent co-ordination between the different tiers)
- deepen our reflection on the design and the management of these investments (grants, financial instruments, PPPs, blending of financial sources, role of the EIB)
We intend to assess all future post-2020 EU financial programs, and particularly the future Common Agricultural Policy and the future Cohesion Policy though these criteria.
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